King of the Agency: from graduate work placement to creative lead

A CREATIVE expert has taken a leading role at the agency where he originally started his career after winning a graduate placement award.

A decade after that first opportunity with StudioLR in Edinburgh, Dave King has now been appointed its Head of Strategy and Creative and will lead the 10-strong team in tandem with original co-founder, Andy Gray.

The restructure also marks a major shift for the agency, which is refocusing to specialise on working with challenger brands, as well as with established businesses who need support with redefining their brand.

Head of Business, Andy said: “We sponsored the Graduate Prize for Graphic Design at Napier University and the winner earned a short placement with us. From the moment Dave walked in the door for his placement it was clear there was something special about him. We’ve supported his development with us for 10 years and so now it’s the natural step for Dave to move into this senior leadership role.”

Since being formed by Andy and Lucy Richards in 2004, StudioLR has gone on to become a renowned player in the Scottish creative sector winning multiple awards ­– currently the Marketing Society Scotland’s SME Agency of the Year.

Co-founder Lucy will continue to lend her experience to StudioLR as Chair, while concentrating her creative efforts on the agency’s new better half – upcoming venture ‘Better Company’ which will be devoted to making a positive impact on society.

Lucy added “Having Dave on the team is like a football team having Ronaldo ­­– he’s driven about making himself and StudioLR famous. Dave’s a sought-after circuit-speaker on creative bravery, not only across the UK but internationally, which is also why it makes sense for us to us to align our work around his passion and strengths. In the past couple of years we’ve been making more and more of a splash with brave and gutsy creative work, particularly for challenger brands”.

Andy, Dave and the team work on a portfolio of clients including Volvo, Jura Whisky, Seafish, Fettercairn Whisky and major recruitment specialist, Sanderson. With a turnover consistently around £800,000, the restructured agency is now aiming to double in size within five years.

Andy is clear that strong business practice – as well as bravery in creativity – will still be at the heart of StudioLR. His pragmatism is a vital part of the new dual leadership role, offsetting the more unique talents of King.

He added: “In the wake of the pandemic this is a turbulent time for businesses. We know that brands want to work with creative agencies that can demonstrate strong business credentials as well as creative flair.”

Dave King, who is a regular conference speaker on brave creative work and created D&AD’s Bravery Masterclass which he delivers worldwide to some of the world’s best agencies and in-house teams says he is thrilled with his new role at StudioLR and with the direction the agency is taking.

He said: “We’re carving a reputation in helping ambitious brands to adopt stop-you-in-your-tracks creative that really helps them stand out from the competition.

“For us it’s all about sharpness, honesty and impact. There’s nothing more rewarding than working with like-minded, ambitious people, and helping them win in their sector. “Scary times can also be exciting times. Clients we work with can expect big, bold, attention-seeking ideas that get them noticed and remembered.”

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